Baker-Polito Administration Announces Six Grants to Coastal Communities
Funding Will Enable Communities to Improve and Protect Coastal Water Quality
BOSTON – December 3, 2015 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $400,000 in grants to support local efforts to assess and treat nonpoint source pollution from roadway runoff and boat waste. The grants, provided by the Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), were awarded to Fairhaven, Fall River, Kingston, Medford, Milton and Salem.
“Pollution in Massachusetts waters affects not only the natural resources, but the economy and quality-of-life in our coastal communities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These grants will help local officials assess nonpoint source pollution issues and fund on-the-ground projects to improve coastal water quality.”
“It is vitally important that we address the effects of polluted storm runoff and boat waste to ensure the health of the Commonwealth’s citizens, the survival of our native species, and the viability of coastal industries,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Through this grant program, we have been able to work with our municipal partners and invest in real solutions to control nonpoint source contamination along the Massachusetts coast.”
“Massachusetts is proud to be a leader in protecting water quality, which is vital to our coastal communities, environmental health, recreational opportunities and fishing and tourism industries,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “These grants demonstrate the Commonwealth’s continued commitment to supporting local efforts that promote a clean and healthy coast.”
The goal of CZM’s Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Grant Program is to improve coastal water quality by reducing or eliminating nonpoint sources of pollution—the leading cause of water quality impairment in the nation. This type of pollution primarily occurs when contaminants are picked up by rain, snow melt and other flowing water and carried over land, in groundwater or through drainage systems to the nearest body of water. Boat waste discharges are another important source of nonpoint pollution. Nonpoint pollution impacts water quality and coastal habitat and can lead to closed shellfish beds and swimming beaches, reducing opportunities to harvest shellfish and swim due to mandated closures.
“The Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program continues to be an important and successful partnership between the Commonwealth and its coastal communities to address priority nonpoint source water quality pollution problems,” said CZM Director Bruce Carlisle. “CZM is pleased to be able to provide the financial and technical support needed to help ensure that communities can make lasting coastal water quality improvements.”
The following six projects have been funded through this year’s grants:
Fairhaven - $16,995
The Town of Fairhaven will develop final design plans for stormwater treatment systems at priority locations along Sconticut Neck Road, with the ultimate goal to improve water quality and open shellfish growing areas in Little Bay and Nasketucket Bay.
Fall River - $71,750
To serve commercial and recreational vessels and help eliminate illicit discharges of boat sewage into the Taunton River and Mount Hope Bay, the City of Fall River will develop final design plans and obtain permits for a pumpout facility on city-owned land. This project supports the Massachusetts-wide No Discharge Zone (NDZ) and will help improve water quality in the area.
Kingston - $125,000
The Town of Kingston will use the funding to finalize engineering plans, obtain permits and construct underground systems on Shore Drive to treat bacterial pollution from roadway runoff. This project is the fourth phase of a long-term effort to treat contaminated stormwater discharges, improve water quality and expand shellfish harvesting in the Jones River Estuary and Kingston Bay.
Medford - $42,510
The City of Medford, in partnership with the Mystic River Watershed Association, will prioritize sites that require action and develop designs for stormwater treatment systems to address roadway-related pollution to the Mystic River, an important habitat for river herring.
Milton - $19,345
The Town of Milton, in partnership with the Neponset River Watershed Association, will assess the polluted stormwater runoff problem in Unquity Brook, a major freshwater tributary to Gulliver’s Creek. The team will then prioritize sites causing pollution problems and develop initial designs for stormwater treatment options. Gulliver’s Creek provides important habitat for rainbow smelt, and as part of the Neponset River Estuary Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), is recognized by the state for its environmental importance.
Salem - $124,400
The City of Salem, in partnership with Salem Sound Coastwatch, will construct rain gardens and treatment systems along Commercial Street to remove pollutants from stormwater runoff that is discharging to the North River. The North River is an important habitat for rainbow smelt and American eel and is largest freshwater contributor to Salem Sound.
“Coastal cities, like Salem, rely heavily on their natural resources to support their local economies,” said State Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem). “This grant funding will help the community’s ongoing effort to mitigate pollution to the North River and improve the quality of the city’s coastal environment. I would like to thank the city, Salem Sound Coastwatch, and the Baker-Polito Administration for collaborating on this important investment and for their commitment to preserving the health of Salem Sound.”
“Salem is fortunate to receive this funding and continue our efforts to ensure the North River remains a vibrant habitat for the species of smelt and eel along with other marine life,” said State Representative Paul Tucker (D-Salem). “Partnering with Salem Sound Coastwatch is particularly important since they have been good stewards in the revitalization of this entire area.”
“I am very appreciative of the Baker-Polito Administration and Secretary Beaton for their continued commitment to protecting valuable environmental resources in our local communities,” said State Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth). “Investing in the town of Kingston’s Jones River Watershed is imperative to providing a healthy environment for current and future generations in our communities.”
“I applaud the Town of Kingston’s continued efforts to implement Best Management Practices to improve water quality,” said State Representative Tom Calter (D-Kingston). “I am grateful to the Office of Coastal Zone Management for this funding, which will assist the Town in its fourth phase of long-term management of stormwater runoff on Shore Drive, resulting in improved water quality and expansion of shellfish harvesting in the Jones River Estuary and Kingston Bay.”
The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) is the lead policy and planning agency on coastal and ocean issues within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Through planning, technical and grant assistance and public information programs, CZM seeks to balance the impacts of human activity with the protection of coastal and marine resources. The agency’s work includes helping coastal communities address the challenges of storms, sea level rise and other effects of climate change; working with state, regional and federal partners to balance current and new uses of ocean waters while protecting ocean habitats and promoting sustainable economic development; and partnering with communities and other organizations to protect and restore coastal water quality and habitats.
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